Hickenlooper Is In For Senate

August 22, 2019

He's in. Again.

Only this time, former Gov. John Hickenlooper will enter a large the Democratic field to run for U.S Senate. Eleven other Democrats are in the contest to try to unseat Republican Sen. Cory Gardner.

"I don't think Cory Gardner understands that the games he's playing with Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell are hurting the people of Colorado," Hickenlooper said in his new announcement video. "We ought to be working together to move this country forward and stop the political nonsense."

The campaign's latest video finds him in the very familiar confines of the Wynkoop brewpub in Downtown Denver, the nexus of Hickenlooper's political ambitions.

Hickenlooper has repeatedly said in the past said he wasn’t interested in the Senate, that he preferred an executive role. His longshot presidential campaign didn't find any traction, so he left himself some space when he announced the end of his White House bid.

Gardner's seat is considered a must-win if Democrats hope to flip control of the Senate and Hickenlooper's announcement didn't shy away from his past comments or that reality.

"I've always said Washington was a lousy place for a guy like me who wants to get things done. But this is no time to walk away from the table."

One Democratic operative told Colorado Public Radio that Hickenlooper's strength is his near-universal name recognition across the state, a business background and a moderate record that could appeal to unaffiliated voters. Even given that, some Democrats have been disappointed with his stances on health care because he does not back Medicare For All.

The first issues mentioned in his Senate announcement are health care related, as he reminds voters about attacks on pre-existing condition protections and the costs of prescription drugs.

His previous support for the oil and gas industry and opposition to stricter local bans on hydraulic fracturing have also not endeared him to many in the base.

Hickenlooper may now be considered the front runner, but he still faces a diverse Democratic field with several candidates — many of whom have already raised significant amounts of money. And none of them signaled that they were ready to bow out just because the former presidential candidate decides that he's in.

“If he’s going to switch gears and run for the senate, he has a lot to explain to Colorado voters,” state Sen. Angela Williams said in a previous statement. “This won’t be a coronation.”